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In an era of global digital transformation, both individuals and organizations alike are present in two worlds simultaneously. As flesh-and-blood humans or brick-and-mortar companies, we pursue our business or lifetime activities being physical subjects. At the same time, people and enterprises have an imprint on the global web like social media profiles and internet pages of companies. 

Both epitomes may seem very different, however, they are similar in pursuing security as an essential need. Still, whereas in our physical universe we learned how to keep our life and property safe, cybersecurity in the cloud or protection of apps and other software solutions are still largely a relatively new field for organizations even with a decade-long presence on the digital market. In this article, we will take a deep dive into the application of artificial intelligence in cybersecurity and explain how the latest technology solutions can improve safety and security in the digital world.

Top Cybersecurity Challenges in 2021

The expansion of the IT industry scope has been accompanied by the gradual increase of cybercrimes. In 2020 we witnessed an almost two-fold spike of it, bringing this problem to the forefront. 

How to Employ Artificial Intelligence in Cybersecurity

Growth of cybercrime

The financial losses that businesses experience display a similar pattern when companies of all sizes (and blue-cheap enterprises among them too) are forced to open their purses wide to make up for the consequences. According to the estimates of IBM experts, the average bill organization’s foot tallies $4 million. But if hackers have a lucky day they can rob their victims of dozens of million dollars as was the case with the Desjardins Group and Norsk Hydro that had to fork out $50 and $75 million respectively to redress the effects of cyberattacks and data leakages.

The IT companies providing software security services have their hands full trying to patch the holes in the defensive armor of digital products. Yet, their tremendous efforts don’t abash cyber perpetrators who look for ever newer ways to exploit vulnerabilities of infrastructures and processes, posing a number of challenges for IT security experts. 

  • Manual threat exposure. Being the most effective and thorough approach to identifying security issues, this method is notorious for the amount of time it takes which makes it a big-ticket item on the enterprises’ expenditure list. Moreover, humans can fail to notice a weak spot, leaving an opportunity for hackers.
  • Protecting distant ecosystems. With companies’ structures becoming more ramified and spanning across far-sundered locations, it is getting increasingly difficult to implement security agenda in all the endpoints. Ultimately, you still need a human to push the necessary button on the server.
  • The reactive character of security measures. The conventional method of many organizations is dedicated towards not to prevent issues but respond to the incidents that had already occurred. Naturally, anticipatory and forestalling efforts are more complicated undertakings to fulfill.
  • Broad user anonymity opportunities. Nowadays, it is easy for wrongdoers to escape detection via employing VPNs, Tor browsers, and proxy servers. 

All these major and plenty of minor challenges afflicting the IT realm were severely accelerated by the global pandemic. Compelled to stay trammeled in their lodgings, people started to rely heavily upon state-of-the-art technologies to keep their business and work going. With the lion’s share of activities turned into online endeavors, the IT-sphere experiences intense growth furnishing a larger ground of operation for cybercriminals. 

This alarming tendency urges enterprises to augment both their cybersecurity efforts and respective budgets. 

How to Employ Artificial Intelligence in Cybersecurity

Growth of cybersecurity spendings

Since hackers are becoming more sophisticated in their malevolent practices, specialists providing security services to businesses go all lengths to put a halter on them employing the most cutting-edge advancements. Among numerous technologies available on the market artificial intelligence in cybersecurity is believed to yield better results.

AI Cybersecurity Benefits

Artificial intelligence is one of the buzzwords in the high-tech domain of today. Emulating the work of the human brain, this technology is leveraged by contemporary businesses on a large scale enhancing various software products – from apps to holistic enterprise solutions. Artificial intelligence in security systems moves in the wake of this trend upgrading them in a number of ways.

  • AI cybersecurity is self-improving. Machine learning techniques implemented in neural AI network security mechanisms allow them to get smarter over time by analyzing the identified threats and discerning similar ones in new environments.
  • AI cybersecurity is fast. It works much quicker than any human, scanning the entire system, identifying multiple threats, and patching vulnerabilities in a split second.
  • AI cybersecurity is powerful. Artificial intelligence in cybersecurity can handle enormous amounts of data and process huge amounts of traffic in real-time, identifying hidden threats and penetration attempts.
  • Combining artificial intelligence and cybersecurity unfolds vast automation possibilities. Controlling and protective measures are sets of duplicative procedures that should be repeated time after time on a permanent basis. Artificial intelligence security in turn is able to complete security-related tasks 24/7 adapting to the changes of the environment and appearing of new determinants.

Given these unquestionable advantages, the application of AI in the cybersecurity sector is continuing to grow.

Artificial Intelligence in Cybersecurity: Use Cases

There are several cybersecurity domains AI excels in.

1. Unknown Threats Detection

Hackers get craftier in their wiles, inventing new ways of breaching the defenses of IT systems alongside the common ones. Such fresh threats crop up posing ever more challenges for software security experts to overcome. Tuned for analyzing the existing threats by pattern recognition and making predictions as for the new anomalies, artificial intelligence cyber attack prevention is extremely efficient in comparison with the traditional reactive solutions available on the security software market. 

2. Combating Bots

Programs that imitate real users’ behavior can be exploited for data fraud attempts, account hijacking, stealing credentials, and other harmful activities. Being automated, such depredations can’t be resisted via manual efforts alone. And this is where AI steps in. Its algorithms can sift through the website traffic distinguishing humans from bots and sorting out suspicious bots from good ones (for instance, search engine crawlers). 

3. Vulnerability Management

The conventional approach to identifying vulnerabilities is waiting for hackers to tamper with their data to move in for the kill and patch the vulnerability up. The main shortcoming of this tactic is its time lag during which hackers can make themselves at home within your system doing whatever they please with the data it contains.

Leveraging artificial intelligence in cybersecurity enables a proactive approach when machine learning mechanisms monitor the ways software users or site visitors behave and identify aberrations that may be telltale signs of attack attempts. So the latter is forestalled rather than followed upon. 

4. Breach Risk Anticipation

This function is similar to vulnerability detection but it is rather inward bound instead. Here, AI algorithms analyze all elements of the ecosystem (both hardware and software) and expose those that can become a ready gateway for cybercriminals to virtually or physically creep in. When such vulnerabilities are recognized, the company can direct its efforts at securing them. 

5. Network Security

A company that takes utmost care of its cybersecurity can’t survive without mapping out a consistent security policy. Such a document should list all assets of the enterprise (network topography) and describe the algorithm of moves to be undertaken to create and maintain the safety of the inventory. 

Being developed manually, security policy stipulations take eons to be delineated as well as immense efforts to spend for it. AI can streamline and facilitate this process exceedingly while becoming cleverer over time. 

6. Upgrading Authentication Procedure 

The authentication routine is very often the last and only line of defense against penetration attempts. Shrewd hackers have learned to bypass passwords, however intricate they may be. The introduction of AI into cybersecurity paves way for adopting biometric authentication techniques (from fingerprints and face recognition to retinal scan) that are impossible to hack.

7. Phishing Identification and Prevention

Phishing and its variations are by far the most frequent of cyberattack methods.

How to Employ Artificial Intelligence in Cybersecurity

The frequency of cybercrime types

Machine learning AI mechanisms can identify sources of phishing emails and react to such messages denying them entrance to companies’ mailboxes. On broad streams of emails, AI works significantly better than just hard filters of certain senders or whole domains.

Being undeniably a huge asset, artificial intelligence in cybersecurity has some negatives too. 

Downsides of Employing AI in Cybersecurity

As a disruptive technology, AI has all the chances of becoming a godsend for cybersecurity but for the two basic limitations that shrink its ubiquitous adoption. 

  • Significant resource consumption. As is with all innovations, setting up and maintaining an AI security system requires substantial financial investments into acquiring required computer power, memory, and developing AI-driven software. Besides, it takes quite time to organize its seamless functioning, achieve substantial accuracy, and learn dedicated employees to navigate it.
  • Massive data set required. To teach AI to detect anomalies and malware you should possess a solid amount of their codes and samples. Otherwise, the results the AI cybersecurity system will render will be far from accurate. Mining such databases is money- and time-consuming.

While AI technology gaining traction, it will become more affordable too. Yet, there are decent obstacles to overcome for using artificial intelligence in cybersecurity ubiquitously.

Malevolent Uses of Artificial Intelligence

AI is a purpose-agnostic tool and its benefits could be easily employed for inferior intentions. Hackers keep track of the latest technology innovations too and use them to their advantage, like building AI-powered fake images to bypass face recognition. Or, employing artificial intelligence for the analysis of the malware and ransomware they utilize to make them dangerous tools able to penetrate not only conventional defense systems but the AI-fueled ones too. Thus, they can perform more sophisticated attacks that would be harder to repel.

Another possible strategy for cybercriminals to take is to make use of the regular AI practices utilized by companies. Take neural fuzzing, for instance. As a rule, this process involves testing huge amounts of input data to identify a system’s vulnerabilities. However, the same neural networks can provide perpetrators with this valuable information to be further exploited for their benefit. 

Finally, hackers can take advantage of AI mechanisms to influence security systems so that they misinterpret regular inputs and function in the way cybercriminals want them to. 

This doesn’t mean that AI is the ultimate weapon, which nothing can defeat. Just the battlefield has changed and moved to the AI domain. Security experts are constantly developing new methods of improving the safety of hardware and software, increasingly relying on artificial intelligence. 

To Sum It Up

AI is becoming more popular across the world of technology. It has touched and changed a broad range of industries. This technology is quite beneficial for the cybersecurity domain too, enriching its practices with new approaches that provide bolstering of virtual defenses against cyberattacks. If you are looking for ways to employ artificial intelligence in cybersecurity to enhance your software systems and IT infrastructure, drop us a line and our experts will consult you about the latest technologies and solutions on this matter.

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